By 1934 he decided he had enough of working for others and that he would go into business for himself. In dirt-poor Northeast Mississippi, the Tupelo Journal was for sale, and McLean used his wife's money to buy what he called ""a bankrupt newspaper from a bankrupt bank."" As he struggled to keep the paper going, his Christian socialism evolved into a Christian capitalism that transformed the region. He didn't want a bigger slice of the pie for himself, he said; he wanted a bigger pie for all.
But McLean (1904-1983) was far from a saint. He prayed about his temper, with little result. He was distant and aloof toward his two children--adopted through a notorious Memphis baby selling operation. His wife, whom he deeply loved in his prickly way, left him once and threatened to leave again. ""I don't know why I was born with this chip on my shoulder,"" he told her. Tupelo Man looks at this far-from-ordinary publisher in an intimate way that offers a fascinating story and insight into our own lives and times.